you. so clear enough? [laughter] and i love saying it. have a great weekend. >> the day-old tradition is under attack. >> the assault on religious liberty. >> this woman sells flowers. >> is very special to me. >> when robert married a man government said that she must. >> it's not about the money, it's about freedom. >> the government said the indians must give up their feather and that she must pay for contraception. >> the government demand that we choose between the care of elderly or our faith and. >> church and state is absolute. >> really? church and state.
that is our show tonight. ♪ ♪ announcer: now it's time for john stossel. stossel: many of our ancestors came to america because of religious oppression. the king of england wanted everyone to worship his way. catholics were not allowed to own guns or vote in ireland. they were quick to protect religious freedom. i say that the first amendment is protecting free speech congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting free exercise thereof. free speech comes after that. so religious freedom has been a big deal in this country and yet as our government grows and expands tentacles into every cranny of life the government has increasingly infringed on some religious choices. to american indians were denied
unemployment benefits because they had been fired for using peyote. they sued in saying that this is part of the religion. that went all the way to the u.s. supreme court which basically said to bat, the drug laws apply to everyone. so congress passed the religious freedom restoration act that says the government shall not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion unless there is a compelling governmental interest. many legislators have passed their own versions of that. when indiana past one recently, you know what happened then. >> they are justifying discrimination. >> we ought to do these people. >> this is unfair and unjust and it has to change its. >> them accredit politicians banned state-funded travel musicians canceled appearances and it was called a silly disguise of legal discrimination. some corporations the president of marriott hotels called a pure
idiocy. so how quickly things change? remember a democratic president bill clinton signed it. that is evil discrimination? just seven years ago barack obama of both clintons opposed gay marriage and today he don't actively support gay marriage by catering a gay wedding or baking the wedding cake, you are a horrible republican bigot? it's crazy. but let's leave the political hypocrisy aside for a moment. at the center of the controversy is the question it do you think that gay marriage is wrong and you run a catering business must you cater to gay weddings? know says this woman of the becket fund for religious liberty. and yes as americans united for separation of church and state. you must cater the wedding?
>> public accommodations laws are designed to be a compelling government interest and that is to say that we have given up on race discrimination as a culture and gender discrimination. but we haven't given up on discrimination against gay the gay and lesbian community. if someone wants to pass a law that this is what the government believes is right it trumps the claims of someone who will not cater pizza to a wedding. >> religious liberty is the ability to search for the truth and follow once conscience. it should be free of government coercion. it should not be coerced by governments or anyone else at the famously homophobic westboro baptist church. they should not be forced to participate in a same-sex wedding. >> this idea of participating in a wedding, i did several
weddings this past summer. >> i don't have do one of the things -- all ministers and priests and rabbis can make a choice not to do even something like this. >> a pizza cellar seller is not in the business of providing a religious service. >> even if you lived in a place like this, the fact is that we have a long tradition of being able to live according to our deeply held convictions of work and home. >> you are the totalitarian left. >> what matters to me is that there is a fully blown and totally justified effort to stamp out discrimination against people who have what are called a mutable characteristics. >> wiping out the rights doesn't
work. what gives these individuals both of them, is a day in court. stossel: that means that everyone has to wait years. what about just having a private life? as long as you don't physically assaulted a person? >> the last 22 years there hasn't been one single case when the restaurant owner said i will not serve you because you are gay. not one case. >> the reason i supported the religious freedom restoration act and ted kennedy did and a lot of other people nobody thought that it applied. and also nobody thought that there were corporations. >> they might even be people and circumstances that they don't practice religion. hobby lobby the big case from the past summer do-it-yourself flamingos and all of this.
>> the family started their business out of their garage with a 600-dollar loan, they have 26,000 employees to let me explain it to the audience. obamacare does demand that businesses pay for their workers birth-control pills and morning-after pills, it's one small company suing the government saying that we shouldn't be forced to pay for what we consider immoral. last year the supreme court agreed and ruled that hobby lobby and other faith-based corporations get exemptions from that part of obamacare. so congratulations. but it is pathetic. they have to go to court each time and beg for an exemption and bigger groups like notre dame are too big to be exempt. >> government exempted millions of americans from having to comply with this law because of commercials reasons and secular
reasons, but they refuse. >> you asked at the beginning of the program what is the change. is there a political hypocrisy and my answer is no. because nobody believed that these for-profit companies could exercise religion. maybe a church could and there were examples of that during the debate. but not a big company. if ted kennedy is going to deprive women because of some view of what these contraceptives are -- >> because it's very expensive to get. >> if it provides health care it can provide that.
>> using the word deprived to keep women from getting this. >> absolutely. it does have that effect. nine dollars may not be much any of the people here. >> i will tell you this, john i am old enough to have been through the vietnam timeframe. there were conscientious objectors. stossel: many consider it murder. >> i understand the people and the right to life movement can and do believe that performing an abortion is murder. but against those two claims comes somebody who won't deliver
pizza to a wedding. so first, let me give my 2 cents, i say in a free country that people should have the right to discriminate. government must not come at the worst of american racism and homophobia and slavery and segregation state bands anti-sodomy laws with government discrimination and it was right for the federal government to intervene and if i start a business with my own money i should be able to serve only libertarians are people aware of loose shirts and my customers have this free-market competition and enough people will boycott the business and i will lose money. punishment from market competition is enough. more and more oppressive law is not needed here and so look out
one more religious freedom case. >> it includes wearing feathers, it eagle feathers. and then the government raided one of the powwows. and they wanted to know if they even allow them to go into the circle and confiscate the feather. the government took the feathers and he joins us now. >> you could fight them but it would bankrupt the tribe, but he took the case for nothing. what is happening? >> they came to the family
powwow and they asked around. they took some people out of the circle and they confiscated the eagle feathers. >> you're not killing evil is to get these feathers. >> also eagles are not endangered anymore. >> no they are not. >> they became something to be considered sacred. they would take it and use it for a ceremony like in a circle and so basically the government have talked about this. >> the undercover agents show up and what was your reaction. >> we would be doing them for 30 or 40 years or maybe longer and they have an agent just like a tourist, several maybe we don't know, take pictures, document it. >> it's not like the individuals
are in danger or that you're killing them. >> i think it all goes back to the spirituality. >> they want to control you by taking your feathers? >> a lot of people don't think that they are as free as they are. >> your case has a happy ending that we can report upon after nine years of litigation. the government finally returned the confiscated feathers, a government official pompously read the list of evidence he was returning. >> 44 golden eagle feathers. [cheers] [applause] stossel: is it a happy ending? >> it is kind of bittersweet. but the problem is you have
eagle feathers with all of these restrictions and i'm the only one that can use these feathers and no one can bother them. and it deletes it says i have permission to carry these feathers. >> absolutely, the government has grown beyond reach and its infringing upon religious liberties of all groups come including american indians. >> enqueue robert and christina. please follow me on twitter and use this hash tag or like my facebook so we can post on the wall. and coming up next him in the first free-market and religion. how has that worked
out to coming up next >> this is a war targeting the christian faith i am totally blind. and sometimes i struggle to sleep at night, and stay awake during the day. this is called non-24. learn more by calling 844-824-2424. or visit your24info.com. ♪ ♪ ♪ (under loud music) this is the place. ♪ ♪ ♪ their beard salve is made from ♪ ♪ ♪ sustainable tea tree oil and kale... you, my friend, recognize when a trend has reached critical mass.
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>> there is no doubt that christian tradition is under attack. >> yes, there is doubt. i could never get my brain around this. america is predominantly a christian country and for years lots of my colleagues have said that christianity is under attack. >> it's more than a war on religious liberty it's targeting the christian faith. stossel: i just don't see it except for maybe a few fringe groups one of which we will hear from later. we celebrate christian holidays like christmas and easter and also this is a very religious country, 90% of americans say that they believe in god and 40% say that they go to church every week. fewer than 10% go in france and germany.
one individual says would you vote for a presidential candidate who is black? a woman? catholic? jewish? the majority said yes. the group that did the worst with 43% saying no, i would not vote for them this is a religious country. that's not good for me i'm not religious, more on that later in the show but this makes me a clear minority in america. so i would like to ask tony perkins. what are religious people complaining about? you have one enact. >> certainly unfortunately. americans, christians, other religious americans are not losing their lives like they are in the middle east. but as you have talked about on your program, we are seeing the government come in and the line of separation that we have heard about that separates church from
state. it's being breached by the state because the state is taking away the rights of religious americans. >> i think it is increasing as we have seen over the last 40 to 50 years, we've seen it on college campuses and in the school system. >> when students, valedictorians salutatorian's began to give their commencement speeches and offer prayers you will see people like this who simply wanted to give credit where credit was due and that was to his relationship with jesus but he did it anyway. >> the school board said that you may not recite the lord's prayer in your speech. >> you could not make reference to god and so on and so forth. he had to get a preapproved speech, this is his personal speech. he said okay i went through the process and then on graduation
day he ripped up the speech and gave the speech that he wanted to give. stossel: here he is the valedictorian of liberty high school disobeying the rules from his school board. [inaudible] and the audience was clearly with him. so this is a school board in a few isolated incidents. >> you know we have a document that is a catalog of these across the country you have these groups like the city from religion because of tight budgets, oftentimes they back down and they violate the first amendment freedoms of students and members and citizens and this is increasingly happening
and it's becoming a widespread in the culture today. >> when you mock this title. >> you are not forced when they led the audience in the lord's prayer, no one is going to make you say the words and move your lips. but others should be free to do it if they want to. we are better off if people attend church individually and collectively. >> we look at it in the numbers based upon the governments research and the data that we collect and we do the research on that children who grow up in homes where there's regular church attendance do better in math and science and less likely to get involved in criminal behavior and less likely to become pregnant outside of wedlock, even those that do not participate in them.
>> not necessarily all some say that the politicians have lost the war. the public has turned against conservative christians on this issue. >> they have been writing those stories were probably 25 or 30 years that how this is dead, how social conservatives have gone when you look at how many are actually in the field and vying for that social conservative vote when you look at the last election cycle of 2012. 50% were evangelical conservatives and i don't think they're going away anytime soon. >> coming up, a debate with an atheist and the laws that say
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. john: want a swig of whiskey? if it's sunday, depending what state you're, in you may not buy this bottle. sunday is the day of worship, you're supposed to be in a christian church. wait a second aren't we suppose to have religious freedom? some worship on different days. even if you go to church sunday, why can't you buy a bottle after church? blue laws ban that. originally they outlawed regular sunday work, no buying no selling, traveling, public entertainment or sports even. called blue laws because, well, that's not clear. some say it's because connecticut printed them on blue paper. others say blue means rigidly
moral as in blue nose. who knows the reason? at least there are fewer blue laws now, but the fact they still exist in many places is very wrong says "reason" magazine editor katherine mangu-ward. >> by prohibiting me from getting the ingredients for mimosa sunday morning that is standing between sin, life and degradation? that is too little too late. >> for the greater good, instead of making mimosas sunday morning maybe that will encourage people to go to church and better people because of it. >> the idea that people shouldn't want to work or buy on a sunday morning is just as paternal and sick and offensive as saying go to church. john: it's fine if they don't want to, to tell them they may not is the big difference. >> right. john: it's not just liquor it's also car dealerships are
required to close. 12 states prohibit sunday liquor sales. will we put the names up? 13 states outlaw car dealerships from opening on sunday, and they are often different states. >> there's this very weird, in the case of liquor sales, a literal bootleggers and baptists. john: slow down bootleggers and baptists. >> bruce yandle who pointed out laws that are for your own good, that have moral overtones you should look and see if someone can gain financially from the laws. hard to see how businesses gain from being required to be closed. but what actually happens in the case of the blue laws is that they're protecting themselves from competitors. local liquor store doesn't want to open up on sunday and pay workers overtime whereas the total beverage around the corner or walmart has no trouble doing that. they're keeping themselves
protected from competition. john: just like baptists and bootleggers work to preserve alcohol prohibition because the baptists thought it was immoral and the bootleggers made money. john: here's another law, it may have led to the craziness, the big shopping day often called black friday. to get around some of this madness stores started opening earlier on thanksgiving day, but thanksgiving is the time we're supposed to be with our family, so -- >> in maine, massachusetts and rhode island, it is against the law for stores to be open on thanksgiving thanks to puritan inspired blue laws. people have had the temptation to let work crowd out all the other things that matter family, faith and have to be told again and again, knock it off don't work. you think people are lazy but they work too much.
john: americans work too much. >> maybe they should be able to choose their own days off. a bunch of guys in a state capitol know what's best for us? in terms of how many days we take off and how we take them. john: isn't it best to be off on thanksgiving and not shopping for commercial crap stuff. >> depends what home is like on thanksgiving. john: on that note, katherine mangu-ward. coming up, my struggles with religion and a debate with an atheist.
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>> i don't believe in an america with a separation of church and state is absolute. john: absolute it certainly isn't now. in some towns the 10 commandments are posted conspicuously in front of courthouses. is that wrong? what about in god we trust being all over our currency? david silverman, president of the american atheists says both are wrong, but harry mehead of the liberty council says it's a myth that the constitution even requires separation of church and state. really? i thought did. >> absolutely yeah, john the ward separation of church and state are nowhere to be found in our constitution. the fact of the matter is our founders were by and large men of great faith who were not neither ashamed nor afraid to acknowledge that our rights come not from man, not from government but from almighty god the creator god. and the first thing that our founders did after they enacted
the first amendment was not to enact some kind of absolute separation of church and state, but rather it was to establish a chaplaincy in the u.s. congress and start every session with prayer acknowledging god. john: it's not in the constitution. where did the separation idea come from. >> the phrase doesn't have to be in the constitution, it is civil law. when we're talking about the separation of church and state -- john: what do you mean civil law? >> it's civil law. the united states supreme court interprets the constitution. they came out with the separation of church and state and it is civil law. >> invented it out of thin air. >> not totally thin air. there was the treaty of tripoli of 1776. >> it is the smoking gun that says i win. signedord of george washington signed by john adams, ratified unanimously. john: the government of the united states is not in any sense founded. >> in the christian religion black and white, smoking gun i
win, you lose. >> you can revise history to the fact is our founders were not afraid to acknowledge god and did that in our founding documents. the declaration of independence says we are endowed by the creator with unalienable rights. >> the founding fathers were diverse. >> they weren't afraid to acknowledge god and they did. >> they acknowledged him. some throughout our history has been a nation that blessed god. john: lincoln and jefferson were not religious. >> neither was thomas payne patrick henry was. they got together christians and the rest of them got together and put together a secular constitution that separates church -- john: let's talk today i could see harry that he as an atheist going into a courthouse with a big cross or the 10 commandments would think, boy, this court isn't going to be fair to me. >> he would be absolutely wrong. there are over 53 expressions of the 10 commandments on our
nation's highest court on the supreme court. i am surprised to see in god we trust on all the currency. this is not something the founders did, it started to appear in the time. civil war, it appeared in coins. didn't appear on the dollar bills until i was 10 years old. >> look this is politicians monkeying around. >> our founders acknowledged god in our foundational document the declaration of independence. john: different from putting it on every coin. >> patrick henry was brought up when a people forgets god, tyrants forge their chains. i lived in a nation where god was forgotten. john: you are from romania. >> i grew up in communist romania, i grew up with the chains the tyrants forged, they said come from man or government, in which case the government can take them away from you. john: how the totalitarians god or not, it would be bad news.
>> once you take god and morals out of the equation, the sky is the equation. >> once you take god out of equation, everybody is free to make their own decisions. the question is do we want a nation that picks and chooses who gets more rights than others or do we want a nation of equals? my opponent here wants a nation of equals. john: you are objecting to the crosses which are harmless of the 10 commandments getting in everybody's race your rights are not threatened. >> it is a step away from religious freedom step away from religious equality and a step toward theocracy. john: how? when? >> when you are an american citizen and the money says you are a second class citizen it harms you. when the pledge of allegiance is told to your kids and they have to acknowledge god against your wishes. that harms you. john: harry what about that? >> not coercive or oppressive for atheist to allow fellow man
to express public belief in god. that's good manners. john: why should churches have a tax deduction? >> churches like all 501-c3's provide an important service to the public. john: don't have to turn in the irs forms. >> you want separation of church and state certainly you don't want government to decide. >> i see the giant churches sitting empty six days a week. >> paying no property taxes and not filing forms. billions and billions and dollars goes into the church and we cannot figure out how much -- >> if you have the government reviewing the forms of the churches deciding which churches have proper beliefs or not that's not separation of church and state. john: your group has to file different forms. >> have to file forms. churches don't. churches have to file 990s every year, if you want to go to the government we have to report income every year how we're spending money. we have to defend our nonprofit status every year.
churches don't because they're churches. that's religious incrimination. john: favoring big government. >> not true at all, they don't because government shall make no law towards establishment or religion. >> irs tax code differentiates between secular and religious organizations. >> you made this exact claim in a federal lawsuit and you lost. >> you are avoiding my question. >> flat-out avoiding the question. john: we are out of time. thank you, david harry. coming up, the surprising result when government neglected religion. turned out to be good news for religious people. i am totally blind. and sometimes i struggle to sleep at night, and stay awake during the day. this is called non-24. learn more by calling 844-824-2424.
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. john: i'm so surprised when president obama makes a speech and actually says something that's true and wise. here's one of those rare times. >> the united states is one of the most religious countries in the world. one of the reasons is that our founders wisely embraced the separation of church and state. john: in other words, he says because government in america mostly left religion alone, religion thrived in america and he's right. it's the opposite of his usual arguments about health care education and whatever he
normally wants more government. but he's right that religion did better here because government threat alone. an economist at chapman university studies religion and explained this to me. explain it to the audience. >> well religion is a market phenomenon like other once, and when you make the government the arbiter the funder of religion, it operates like a typical lazy monopoly and incentives are lost, the clergy are focused on pleasing the politicians rather than the people. >> the church of england and they have no competition, they want to suck up to the king. >> at best a combination of the american post office and public school. john: what do you mean the u.s. was the first religious free market? >> let every religion compete freely and enter freely. john: i always assume people
came here to escape religious tyranny and all for free religion in america the puritans and so forth. but they weren't? >> the puritans came to escape religious tyranny true but to establish their own religion, and once they got to massachusetts, they made that the official religion of the colony. they taxed people to support that religion. they persecuted other religions so in the northeast it was puritanism or calvannism. john: what changed? . >> the american revolution and 13 colonys with separate religions had to forge a compromise and more as a compromise than any high-minded theological idea they greed that the federal government would neither regulate nor establish religion. john: and then something odd happened, when they did that they thought it would hurt religion. >> absolutely the sort of
argument that says we need the government to provide a service otherwise it won't be provided. what happened to religion throughout america it blossomed. we ended up with better and more religion and safer religion. john: in 1776 17% of the population were part of the church organization now 48%. >> we've seen steady growth throughout this period in religious involvement, religious enthusiasm, the diversity and variety of different religions around and the services they provide. john: competition also work. the older state religions diminish, the anglicans, the puritans and new groups blossomed? >> a bit like ibm versus apple or facebook. it's the upstart. the new religions. john: the baptists, methodists. >> pentecostals it keeps happening. these groups took over a lot of functions we thought of as government functions? >> yeah, whether it was schools
or health care or help for the elderly or sick, a panoply of services that we tend to associate now with government. john: and while the good things were happening in america, in europe religion declined? >> yeah the monopoly religions were not adapting to society changes in technology. john: they didn't have to because the state supported them. >> exactly right. john: and the other was increasingly the growing welfare state crowded functions right out. in fact some of them sold off their hospitals, their schools, their old age homes, to the state thinking that they could focus on spiritual matters. john: and they'd save money. >> and save money, and the fact is when you separate the spiritual and the material missions of churches you eviscerate them, cut the heart out of them. john: and people stopped going to the church. >> absolutely. john: thank you, larry.
coming up my confusion about religion. people ship all kinds of things. but what if that thing is a few hundred thousand doses of flu vaccine. that need to be kept at 41 degrees. while being shipped to a country where it's 90 degrees. in the shade. sound hard? yeah. does that mean people in laos shouldn't get their vaccine? we didn't think so. from figuring it out to getting it done, we're here to help.
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. john: when it comes to religion, i'm confused. my parents were born jewish, but they weren't religious. when they left germany for america before hitler they practiced no religion. when i was born, they joined this protestant church mainly to help us assimilate in our new country. so i was raised a
congregationalist i sang in the choir went through the rite of confirmation but i never really got into it. i wanted to believe me i still want to. i see the sense of peace that many religious people have. some say it's because they know what god wants of them. i want that! so i've tried to become religious. in my hippy days i tried buddhism. hinduism, too. later studied judaism nothing stuck, i'm still not convinced that any religion really knows what god has in mind or even that there is a god. i'm surprised most americans do believe. >> do you believe in god? >> i believe in god, yes. >> yes, i do. >> yes, very much so. >> do you believe in god? >> yes. >> do you believe in god? >> yes. >> absolutely. >> how do you know god exists? >> it's just a belief, that's all it is. john: just a belief.
i'm not convinced of that. i want evidence. i cringe at the fact most people do believe you may dislike me because i'm uncertain maybe you will stop watching my tv show and i'll get fired. that's the brakes. because i talked about this publicly people pray for me heavenly father fall fresh about stossel reveal yourself such that he may know you. others trash me for being an atheist. faith haters are jerks like stossel. i'm not a faith hater i envy those of you who have faith, i'm also not an atheist many are certain there is no god. i'm not certain i'm agnostic i want to be convinced. i just haven't been. please, god, give me a sign! nothing. there's no question that faith does good things for people. i mention a sense of purpose that some people get from feeling that they're serving god, a commitment to something
bigger than themselves. belief in god also correlates with happiness. i wish i had more of that. i'm not all that happy. isn't religion itself that makes people happy? maybe just going to church persuades you to be more charitable and charity brings happiness. charity givers are 40% more likely to say they are very happy. but you don't have to be religious to give, just give! it's also possible that just going to church temple the mosque, or whatever service you attend increases happiness because it leads to you spend time doing things with other people. just that engaging in activities with the others often makes people happier, too. i don't know how to sort this out. but i do know that separation of church and state is a good thing. when people are free to choose how and when to worship or not to worship we are all freer and better off. that's our show. see you next friday for a new
episode again, in our new friday time slot on fbn. [laughter] that will do. see you tomorrow. >> a world record car collection. >> he just kept going. he never stopped. >> i believe his goal was to have one of every car ever made. >> a maverick driven to leave a mark. >> he went to the auction, bought the whole lot. >> his family promises to carry out his grand plan. >> i think there was a feeling of dread, relief excitement, and enthusiasm. >> love it. love the hair flowing. the top down. >> but can they fulfill the patriot patriarchs dying wish? >> you don't want that car oil on your hand.